Christmas is right around the corner and if Christ coming to earth to save mankind from our sins isn’t significant, then I don’t know what is.  In just a few days, the shortest day of the year will be here.  The day with the least daylight.  December 21.  Isn’t it interesting that day is so close to the birthday of the Light of the World?

Many people get together with family and friends to feast on or around Christmas.  Readers of The Comet on December 20, 1884 read a quote by Emerson:  “The first farmer was the first man, all historic nobility rests possession and use of the land.”  The Comet was the first newspaper to be published in Johnson City.  This advice is still quite true.  Where would we be without our farmers? Farming is certainly significant and hard work that doesn’t stop.  It’s 365 or 366 in 2020/24/7.

Before her death, my mother used to answer the telephone on Christmas Day by saying, “Christmas Gift!”, instead of “Hello!”  I asked her several times over the years why she did that, and she said that her family had always done it.  I try to carry on that tradition, but I usually forget to do so for at least the first caller or so. Mama was born in 1926 and her family had one of the earliest telephones in the county, so I feel like she heard of it around 1930 or so.  What traditions does your family have?

Here’s a recipe tradition from my family:

Mama’s Chocolate Fudge

Combine ½ cup butter, 1 tall can evaporated milk, and 4 ½ cups sugar in a large saucepan.

Place over medium heat;  stir until sugar is dissolved.  Bring to a boil.  Cover.  Boil 5 minutes.  Turn off heat, but leave on burner.

Add two squares baking chocolate, 12 ounces of semi-sweet chocolate chips, 13 ounces sweet milk chocolate and ½ pound marshmallows.  Stir until all is dissolved.  (Grate the baking chocolate and sweet milk chocolate for best results;  use miniature marshmallows.)

Add 1 tablespoon vanilla and 2 cups chopped nuts.  Blend.

Pour in a lightly greased 15 x 10 x 1” pan.

Let stand until it’s firm.  Cut into squares.

This is the only recipe that I can remember Mama making for Christmas every single year.

Finally, on December 20, 1906, The Comet readers were advised to praise, improve, talk and write about their town. Trading at home, being public spirited, having home pride, speaking of the natural advantages of the town, subscribing and supporting the local paper, supporting institutions that benefit the town, and looking ahead of yourself when the entire town is considered were all suggested as ways to treat your town.  Small steps that help us see much progress and steps that are just as valid today as they were 113 years ago!  Many of these words can be changed slightly and are equally appropriate for organizations, especially membership based organizations, such as the Rotary Club, Girl Scouts, and churches, as we try to be good members.  We’re still a few days away from New Year’s resolutions, but these words provide some wonderful suggestions for any resolutions you may be thinking of making.

I hope you’ll comment below on my thoughts in this post, or any other thing that’s of interest to you.

Copyright, December 16, 2019 by Rebecca Henderson.

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